carpenter ant up close

How To Identify Carpenter Ant Damage

carpenter ant infested wood

There are many ways bugs can be a threat. Some bugs bite or sting. It is simple enough to understand why we don't want those bugs around. Some bugs get into our stored foods and, while they don't carry diseases or bacteria, they still contaminate our foods simply by the fact that we don't want to eat bugs. The bugs that spread harmful bacteria and human pathogens are even worse. They don't even have to get into our foods to make us sick and inspire us to get rid of them. All they have to do is crawl around on our plates, silverware, or food prep surfaces. Then, there are the bugs that damage our stuff. They eat our wallpaper. They chew holes in our clothes. They stain our furniture. And they can even eat away at the structure of our homes. Today, we're going to take a look at one of these "home-destroying" bugs: the carpenter ant.

Carpenter ants are a common pest threat in our South Carolina service area. The climate here is ideal for these insects to stay active all year long. This allows them to do a considerable amount of damage to homes in the state. Spotting this damage on your property, and recognizing it as carpenter ant damage, could save you a lot of money.

Carpenter Ant Damage

Most of the time, you're not going to see carpenter ant damage on the outside of wood but it can happen. If you do see "external" carpenter ant damage, it will look like shallow trenches running along the surface of wood. You may also notice carpenter ant damage around nails that stick out from a board. This damage will always look smooth, as though sandpaper was used. If you see external damage, it is likely to be on wood that has been in the moist ground or in a moist and shade location above the ground.

When carpenter ants make their tunnels, they can sometimes chew through tunnel walls and create a hole that is visible to you. These holes will look like dashes and dots running in a straight line. Most of the time, you won't see this kind of damage unless you look into a sealed wall void and examine a stud or piece of timber.

Before you see carpenter ant damage, you are likely to see frass. This is a soft, powder-like substance created by carpenter ants. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don't eat wood, they chew away at it then push the chewed wood remnants out of their tunnels. Basically, frass is nothing more than sawdust. But, it is much finer than sawdust created by a power tool.

In some circumstances, you may see carpenter ant damage at the bottom of door or window frames. This damage will look like it has been chipped away. If you pull a piece off, the interior tunnels will be smooth. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not leave mud inside their tunnels. These tunnels will also have a layered look to them.

Carpenter ant damage may cause paint to chip or crack, but this can happen for other reasons, so it is hard to connect it to carpenter ant damage.

Over time, carpenter ants can create structural problems. Floors may develop a slope or sink down. Walls may bulge out. Ceilings may dip down. And doors and windows may begin to stick or swing freely. Hopefully, you will detect carpenter ants before it gets to this point.

What To Do About Carpenter Ants When You Discover Them

If you discover carpenter ants inside your South Carolina home, it is best to have an educated and experienced pest control professional take care of arresting the problem. DIY solutions can lead to continued damage of your property. Not only do professionals know what products work best to resolve carpenter ant infestations, they know how to monitor for carpenter ant activity and ensure that the issue has been resolved.

Are you battling carpenter ants? Find out if you're in our South Carolina service area. Spencer Pest Services has been protecting homes and businesses in South Carolina for over 60 years. Our trained and certified pest control technicians know what protocols work to arrest pest control issues and eliminate pest control threats. Reach out to us to schedule a free, no-pressure, home pest control inspection. What do you have to lose but carpenter ants?   

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